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Nine Nigerians Contesting In United States’ Election

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No fewer than nine Nigerian Americans are on the ballot in Tuesday’s general elections in the United States.

Running mostly on the platform of the Democratic Party, the candidates are bidding for different offices at the federal, state and local levels.

Besides the presidential election, governorship polls are holding in 11 states and two territories, in addition to other state and local elections.

Congressional elections are also holding on Tuesday with all the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate up for grabs.

At the federal level, Mr Oye Owolewa, whose father is from Kwara and mother from Oyo, is aiming for a ‘shadow’ (non-voting) seat in the House of Representatives.

Owolewa, a Ph.D holder in Pharmacy from the Northeastern University, Boston, is seeking to represent the District of Columbia (DC) under the Democratic Party.

If elected, the 30-year-old, whose agenda include fighting income inequality in the U.S., would be the first Nigerian congressman in the country’s history.

Also at the federal level, Mr Yomi Faparusi, an Ibadan-born native of Ode-Ekiti in Ekiti State, is vying as an independent candidate to represent the state of Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.

Faparusi holds a doctorate in Medicine from the University of Ibadan, a Ph.D. in Health from Johns Hopkins University, and Juris Doctorate from the Widener University School of Law, Delaware.

This is not his first shot at the U.S. Congress. In 2014 and 2016, he vied for the Republican Party’s ticket to the House of Representatives, but lost in both occasions

Faparusi’s priorities include being a positive voice for all Nigerians in the U.S. Senate, and inspiring Americans of African or Nigerian descent to seek public office in the country.

In Missouri, a Republican controlled state, Mr Yinka Faleti from Lagos is the Democratic Party flagbearer in the election for the office of Secretary of State.

According to Wikipedia, Faleti was in the U.S. Army as an active-duty officer from 1998 to 2004. He served in Kuwait, first under Operation Desert Spring and later as part Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 44-year-old father of four holds a Bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy, West Point, and a Juris Doctorate from the Washington University School of Law.

His goals as a Secretary of State include protection of the “right to vote for Missouri families”, and ensuring elected officials hear the people’s voice.

Also at the state level, Mr Paul Akinjo from Ondo, is running for election to the California State Assembly under the Democratic Party to represent District 12.

Akinjo once served as Vice Mayor of Lathrop, California, and in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1982 to 1989. His priorities include housing, immigration and transportation.

In Delaware, a small Mid-Atlantic U.S. state, Adewunmi Kuforiji is aspiring to represent District 34 in the state House of Representatives.

Kuforiji, originally from Ibadan, Oyo, secured the Democratic Party’s ticket on Sept. 15 after defeating his challenger, Robert Haynes, at the primary. He holds a Bachelor in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Delaware State University.

In the 2018 mid-term elections, he vied for the same position but lost to the incumbent, Lyndon Yearick, of the Republican Party, whom he is facing he on Tuesday.

Also at the state level, Ms Esther Agbaje, is seeking to represent District 59B in the Minnesota House of Representatives on the platform of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFLP), an affiliate of the U.S. Democratic Party.

The 35-year-old daughter of an Episcopal priest and a librarian, both Nigerian immigrants, defeated longtime state Representative Raymond Dehn in the party’s primary in August.

She is one of one of four progressive greenhorns who defeated established Democratic legislators in the primary.

Agbaje has a law degree from Harvard University, a Master’s from the University of Pennsylvania, and has served in the U.S. Department of State, among others.

As a millennial, a “generation that has suffered numerous setbacks”, she seeks to bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to government.

On the ballot at the local government level are April Ademiluyi, Ngozi Akubuike and Benjamin Osemenam.

Ademiluyi, 39, is running on the Democratic Party’s ticket for Judge of the Seventh Circuit Court in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

For her part, Akubuike, a legal practitioner, is an independent candidate for judge of the Minnesota 2nd District Court Position 8.

Akubuike studied law in Nigeria, then worked in the banking sector before moving to the U.S. where she graduated from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

She has served in several capacities, including legal manager for the state of Minnesota.

Osemenam, who moved to the U.S. in 1982, is contesting for a seat in the Brooklyn Park City Council of Minnesota to represent East District.

An engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, he is vying on the platform of National Party.

He is a former president of the Association of Nigerian Engineers in Minnesota.

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Interesting Facts & Figures As Ghana Holds Presidential Election

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On Monday, 7th of December, West Africa’s second-biggest economy, Ghana will elect its President.

The election, the 8th consecutive one since 1992, has 12 candidates contesting but has been limited to a 2-horse race between former President, John Dramani Mahama and incumbent, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was the President of Ghana between 2012 and 2016, before losing to current President, Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo is running under the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Seventeen million (17m) voters have registered for the election, up by 2million in 2016. There are now 33,000 polling stations across the country, up from 28,000 in the last election.

Ghana’s previous seven elections have produced five Presidents.

History of Leadership

Ghana has a rich political history, from its independence in 1957. After going through years of military dictatorship, following the coup that ejected Kwame Nkrumah in 1966, the country returned back to democracy in 1969.

Between 1969 and 1972, there were three Presidents including Edward Akufo-Addo, Nana Akufo-Addo’s father who was deposed in 1972 by the military.

Jerry John Rawlings took control of the government in 1979, after a coup that deposed Lt.Gen Fred Akuffo. He handed power to Hilla Limann in the same year before deposing him in 1981. Rawlings led the country between 1981 and 1992 as a military ruler before conducting an election that saw to his emergence as a democratic President in the same year.

He ruled Ghana for 8 years as a democratic President before being replaced by John Kuffour in the year 2000.

Kuffour ruled Ghana for eight years between 2000 and 2008. He was replaced by John Atta-Mills.

Between Akufo-Addo and Mahama

Akufo-Addo, 76, Christian, a lawyer and economist contested three times before becoming President. In 2008, when he vied against late former President, Atta-Mills, he won 49.1% of the votes, but it wasn’t enough to see him through. Atta-Mills won the run-off and became President before his demise in 2012. He was replaced by then Vice President, Mahama, 62, and a Communications strategist.

Akufo-Addo, in his second attempt at Presidency in 2012 faced Mahama and lost narrowly. He secured 47.7% of total votes while Mahama garnered 50.7% of the votes to become President.

Mahama embarked on a well-acknowledged infrastructural development but was hard done by flailing prices in the commodity market where Ghana has a large base, due to its huge gold and cocoa productions.

Akufo-Addo, son of a former President and a one-time critic of late former President, Rawlings, accused Mahama’s government of being corrupt and wasteful. In 2016, he contested against Mahama again and was third-time lucky in his Presidential bid. He won 53.8% of the votes against Mahama’s 44.4%.

Campaigns of Endless Promise

In 2016, Akufo-Addo ran with the campaign promise of abolishing fees in high schools; ensuring each district has a hospital; ensuring each district has a factory; cutting corporate taxes; establishing a special prosecutor against corruption and election for local government representatives.

Of all these promises made by Akufo-Addo, he’s been successful with the abolishment of fees in Ghanaian high schools. The number of students staying in the classroom after the 9th grade has increased. This has further heaped pressure on the system, with a double-track system now in place, meaning, students are in groups and go to classes in intervals of two months.

Read: Mahama, Akuffo-Ado Go Toe-to-Toe As Ghana’s Election Draws Nearer

He has built 28 new factories, revived 48 and at least 94 are said to be under construction. Ghanaians feel he hasn’t done much in that regard.

In the health sector, 88 of Ghana’s 216 districts have no hospital and he has been blamed for not keeping up to that promise too.

Akufo-Addo’s strong stance against corruption during his campaign in 2016 has been under the radar. He appointed a Prosecutor in 2018, two years after he won the election, but the prosecutor resigned in November 2020, citing political interference. He also described the President as the “Mother Serpent of Corruption”.

Akufo-Addo’s corruption rating has not been helped by their new point in the Corruption Index by Transparency International.

While he has reduced taxes on small and micro enterprises, there are many diplomatic problems with foreign business owners, with well documented issues with Nigerian business owners especially.

Akufo-Addo promised to give $1m every year to Ghana’s 275 constituencies but did not achieve the target.

Mahama, known as a lover of infrastructure, generally tagged second to Kwame Nkrumah in that aspect, has also made a host of campaign promises.

In the health sector, he has promised free primary health care, preventive care and health promotion and wellness. He has also promised to help reduce the maternal mortality rate in the country by 50%.

The former President says he will build new hospitals and universities, in addition to 20,000 low-income houses in an infrastructure drive. He also says he will abolish the Double-Track Educational system of Akufo-Addo’s government.

In a campaign tagged the ‘Big Push’, Mahama says he has a $10bn infrastructure plan to reposition Ghana’s economy.

Akufo-Addo, on his part, said he plans a $17bn post-pandemic recovery plan for Ghana’s economy.

The incumbent, still battling to convince Ghanaians that he’s the man of the people, after largely failing to keep up with campaign promises, has strong opposition in Mahama.

The former President, known as Mr. Dumsor (on & off) for the electricity shortage faced by Ghanaians when he was in power, hopes to latch on to his political popularity and the incumbent President’s failings.

His party, the NDC has produced 3 of Ghana’s last 5 Presidents.

Ghanaians will also elect the 275 members of Parliament in Monday’s election.

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Africa’s Independence Incomplete Without Total Control of Natural Resources – Zimbabwean President

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The President of Zimbabwe, Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa believes Africa’s freedom and political independence remain incomplete, until the continent has total control of its rich natural resources.

Mr. Mnangagwa bared his mind on Thursday at the ground-breaking for the construction of the Museum of African Liberation in the capital Harare, a project that seeks to document and preserve Africa’s liberation war history.

“The epoch we are now at as Africa is the story of full ownership and utilisation of our endowments to modernise, industrialise, and ultimately improve the lives of our people,” he said.

“Through this continental project, let us put to rest the one-sided euro-centric narratives which have been perpetuated in the public space for too long.

“We are marching together bonded by the ideals of Pan-Africanism, Ubuntu, and African renaissance, through the documentation, protection, preservation, and promotion of our rich liberation history,” Mnangagwa said.

The project is being spearheaded by the Institute of African Knowledge, a Pan-African Research organisation, in conjunction with the Zimbabwean government.

The Museum has since received a major boost after China, Russia, and UNESCO pledged their support for the historic project.

China pledged seed money towards the project and has since invited Zimbabwe to visit China to get Chinese experience on how projects of such magnitude are done.

Several African countries have declared their support for the liberation museum project.

“The construction of this Museum is not to trap us in our past, but meant to ensure that we use our history to learn from the past and chart a better future for the next generations,” Mnangagwa said.

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Money Laundering: Niger Republic Extradites Fleeing Ex-Pension Boss, Maina, to Nigeria

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The Nigerian government has secured the extradition of a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, who jumped bail and fled to neighbouring Niger Republic.

Maina, a former director in the ministry of interior, is being prosecuted on 12 counts of money laundering to the tune of N2bn by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was temporarily freed on bail after perfecting a bail condition, with Senator Ali Ndume standing as his surety.

After he jumped bail, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja issued an arrest warrant against him and also ordered the arrest of his surety.

According to local reports, Maina was arrested in Niamey, the Nigerien capital, on Monday by security agents from the Nigerian Police, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) National Central Bureau, Abuja, and Niger.

Maina has been brought to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, and is currently been held in a police facility.

He will be interrogated before being handing over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) for remand in Kuje Custodial facility.

The Commissioner of Police, Interpol NCB, Garba Umar, reportedly confirmed Maina’s extradition.

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